— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) November 27, 2016
Videos describing Damascus loyalists' victorious Aleppo battle from Russian journalists' perspectives while embedded with the SAA (in Russian with English subtitles)
It should be noted that the jihadists' collapse came after months of moves in preparation for this push, all of them connected to the broader power struggle underway in the Middle East, on disparate fronts -- diplomatic negotiations, military attrition and ultimately, the financial deterioration of (proxy and direct) belligerents. In particular, the ability of Turkey and Saudi Arabia to sustain their proxies inside Syria has come under severe pressure, both from the U.S. and Russians playing the 'Kurdish' card against the neo-Ottoman Sultan who is discovering occupying northern Syria's Kurdistan is far more difficult than imagined, and through low oil prices and the costs of two losing wars catching up with the House of Saud.
Kingdom Come Or Kingdom Gone? https://t.co/ICkhwEh3x7
— Rogue Money (@theroguemoney) November 28, 2016
Even as the Saudis and Egyptians are falling out over General Sisi's increasingly overt support for Riyadh's enemy Bashir al-Assad, the withdrawal of Saudi capital to the Kingdom proper has put tremendous pressure on the Turkish banking system and lira. The result has been the Turkish Central Bank having to once again raise interest rates. While the LNG terminal, World Cup stadiums host and Al-Jazeera network base posing as a country Qatar was a key sponsor of the jihadist groups (especially Ahrar al Sham) that took heavy losses in the failed effort to break the Aleppograd 'cauldron' the SAA and its Russian advisers had long planned...the worst loss of face is being felt by the Saudis, with the Americans, British, Israelis and French not far behind.
Neocons, Le Jeu es Fini --
Both Fillon and Le Pen Signal a More Russia Friendly Course in the Elysee
In Paris, the rejection by the voters in the les Republicans primaries of Nicolas Sarkozy's attempt at a political comeback, and then Alain Juppe in favor of Francois Fillon could also be viewed as the French abandoning the futile policy of fighting Assad to the last Syrian. Monsieur Fillon has been attacked by French neoconservatives such as Bernard Henry Levy and much of the UK and Continental press, for being friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called Fillon 'a great professional'. But the neocon pundits on Twitter could only despair that the next President of France will either be the 'Thatcherite' conservative UMP candidate Fillon, who like his backers in French agro-business and industry opposed the EU economic sanctions against Russia, or the Moscow-visiting Putin admirer Marine Le Pen of the National Front.
The Limits of Russia-Turkish Rapprochement
While it has been obvious since the Turkish Army rolled into Jarablus and drove further south two months ago that Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Putin struck some sort of bargain, that deal has been sorely tested in recent days. The 'deal' many analysts speculated involved Moscow and Damascus turning a blind eye to Turkey attacking enemies the Kurds in order to block the PKK linked YPG's hopes of creating a contiguous homeland called Rojava in northern Syria. In return, the Turks apparently reduced their support for the jihadists inside Aleppo, though the encirclement by the SAA made some of that reduction in materiel and fighters a moot point.
Once the Russian Northern Fleet's Admiral Kuznetsov battle group arrived on station in the eastern Med following its well publicized steaming through the English Channel and Straits of Gibraltar, Moscow wasted little time in demonstrating its new strike capabilities. In particular, the Bastion supersonic anti-ship missiles the Russians placed along the Latakia coast to deter any stupid ideas Washington may have had about attacking Syrian forces from the Med prior to the November elections turned out to have a previously undisclosed land attack capability. (we'll have more to say about the implications of this for Russia's 'unsinkable aircraft carriers' facing NATO in Kaliningrad and Crimea in a future post).
Combined with other sea launched cruise missile strikes and long range TU-95 bombers launching new Kh-101s, the Bastions and Kheimmim's Kuznetsov bolstered air wing ravaged ISIS and jihadist ammo dumps and supply points prior to the SAA's successful Aleppo offensive. After the humiliating failures of their October counteroffensives to break the east Aleppo siege, it seems the Turkish-GCC backed jihadis had very little men or materiel left for the fight. Heavy Russian bombing also broke up a diversionary attack near Hama, even as rumors spread (which were later denied to Al-Masdar News) that Egyptian Air Force F-16s had arrived at the city's air base to serve alongside the Syrian Air Force. What the Russians did not do, however, was carpet bomb the jihadists up north near the Turkish border, perhaps still wary of some sort of provocation or SAM attack from the Turkish side.
— Scott's Humor (@ScottsHumor) November 29, 2016
Sending the Turks a Message on the One Year Anniversary of Treachery:
The (Disputed) SyAF Strike Near Al-Bab That Killed 3 Turkish Soldiers
Turkish artillery opened fire on SAA units attempting a local offensive on November 23, even as the Turks and their 'moderate' jihadi allies attempted to push on to the ISIS held town of Al-Bab northeast of Aleppo in the face of Kurdish SDF forces resistance. What happened next remains disputed, but reliable Mideast reporter Elijah J. Magnier claims the Syrian Air Force received Moscow's permission to send the Turks a message as to the limits of what Damascus would tolerate:
Magnier concludes in his article that 'the partition of Syria is no longer possible [for Turkey] without confronting Russia':
The Jihadists' Defeat at Aleppo Represents the Unraveling of the US/UK Media Information War, as Thousands Flee from Shrinking Rebel Territory to Government Controlled Areas
Another aspect of the foreign sponsored jihadists crushing defeat in Aleppo, which is only a matter of time now -- it has exposed the lies of the neocon-dominated legacy media which grossly exaggerated both the number of civilians trapped by the fighting and their level of support for their terrorist jailers, who refused to let them flee (a war crime under the Geneva Conventions). Retired Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Army Col. Patrick Lang is particular scathing in his condemnation of (P)MSNBC 'Morning Joe' host Joe Scarborough idiotically comparing the east Aleppo jihadi collapse to the fall of the Warsaw Ghetto:
Victory at Aleppo is not the end of the jihadist terror that has gripped Syria for so long and torn the country to shreds. The Gulf monarchies that sponsored the destruction of Syria and sought regime change in the country at any cost have yet to face nemesis in full, though it's certainly coming at the hands of the Houthis who continue to humiliate Saudi-led forces in Yemen and inside the Kingdom's borders. The would be Sultan of Turkey has already discovered his own soldiers and not just the Arab cannon fodder armed by his security services can die on Syrian soil if they don't withdraw to their home soil. Last but not least, the U.S. State Department bureaucrats and GCC-funded neocon think tankers in Washington have also had to face the miserable failure of their plans not only to topple Assad, but also their 'plan B' of partitioning Syria to create a safe haven for their beloved jihadists to fight another day.
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) November 28, 2016
For those who doubted that the Russian intervention in Syria had accomplished much beyond the photo op liberation of ancient Palmyra or showing off Moscow's military hardware to export buyers, the questions have now been answered decisively with the Syrian Arab Republic flag soon to be raised over the ruined citadel of Aleppo's old city, in much the same way the Soviet flag was hoisted after the Nazi German surrender at Stalingrad.
Victory in Syria's 'Battle of Aleppograd', which would have been impossible without the Russians, represents the end of the beginning, for a new Middle East and for the world.
— Nina 🐻 KGByzantina (@NinaByzantina) November 24, 2016